3rd place in the South Devon Coastal Trail Series marathon and a pb on the course
I have been coming to Beesands in South Devon since 2008 for this marathon. It has to be one of the best coastal trail courses in the world in terms of scenery and severity.
My previous best performance came in my first attempt in 2008 when I ran 4.01 - but this came after a year out in South America where a large proportion of my time was spent mountaineering at altitudes up to c.6600m. Since then my results have been: 2009 - injured so unable to start; 4.13 in 2010; and 6.05 last year where I ran with Gemma after having been off running for nearly three months since fracturing the cuboid bone of my right foot at the CTS Gower Ultra.
This year my running has been the most consistent since 2006 with my focus solely on the one endurance activity - no cycling or triathlons - which I believe is dramatically assisting my recovery and ability to keep the mileage up whilst increasing pace.
Excellent underfoot conditions and the above lead to one of my best performances in any race to date. Even though I had had a relatively bad week coming off 2 weeks worth of 6 vaccinations for an upcoming trip to Nepal - I had felt exhausted and demotivated on Wednesday and Thursday so on Friday forced myself out for a 14 mile trail run to give my metabolism a kick start - although this was a risk for South Devon - I felt a lot better after.
We drove down on the Friday evening with Nick and Mandy (here for the 1/2 mara and 10k respectively) to our favourite Kingsbridge B&B - Auton Court, and settled in for the night.
On Saturday morning we arrived in good time to the event HQ on the seafront which was packed like I've never seen before due to the inclement weather. Gemma and I found some space and made our final preparations whilst Nick went and parked the car. Fellow ELA Ian Corless came over for a chat and Kate T. gave me my new Team Endurancelife Multisport Jersey and NGU Arm Warmers - both perfect additions for the wet and wild day ahead. A quick change and I was ready for the off.
The race started into a strong and blustery headwind as we ran along the coast path from Beesands towards Kingsbridge but the views were stunning with an epic seascape out over the cliff edge to our left. The sun even exposed itself for a short while, but as forecast the sky gradually clouded over and the heavens opened up after 12pm. The strong and increasingly wet headwind made the last 3 miles along the coast and over the headland separating Torcross from the finish line, a real mental battle.
A note to myself regarding race day nutrition: porridge for breakfast, made with water, salt and honey at about 7.30am for the first time in a while worked well and kept me satiated for until about 1.5 hrs into the race. A then a can of Redbull at 8.45am - immediately before the start gave an excellent kick for getting up the first hills. An Accel chocolate gel (the random one I had with me was found in a cupboard where it had been sitting since I cycled the Tour of Wessex in 2009!! but tasted ok..... I have since ordered a box of these for future races) around 18 miles seemed to made a big difference - since that was where I kicked and left 4th and 5th placed runners behind.
All in all I am extremely pleased with breaking the 4h barrier in my fifth attempt and a bronze medal to boot.
Thanks for another well organised and beautiful event from the team at www.endurancelife.com
- Distance: 27.72 mi
- Time: 3:55:02
- Avg Pace: 8:29 min/mi
- Elevation Gain: 3,515 ft
- Calories: 3,100
- Moving Time: 3:51:40
- Elapsed Time: 3:55:15
- Avg Moving Pace: 8:21 min/mi
- Best Pace:5:09 min/mi